A dented cargo container here, a theft of a pallet of high-value goods there, and your business could be out thousands of dollars in fairly short order. The global distribution chain operates at a breakneck pace, with more stakeholders involved than ever before, and the long-range effects of cargo damage only further exacerbate inefficiencies.
Your freight forwarding or shipping company could be held liable for damages, and even if it isn't, the mere process of responding to claims is a burden for logistics providers.
What steps can freight forwarders take to avoid these inefficiencies?
Richard Phillips, the CEO of Pennsylvania-based Pilot Freight Services, told Air Cargo World this week that his company has made a push toward encouraging its employees to speak to their coworkers, vendors and carriers over the phone, instead of via email, where information is more likely to be "lost in translation." Improved communication is a best practice with benefits that extend well beyond responding to cargo damage claims.
Entrepreneur Magazine contributor Carol Tice goes even further, laying out five specific steps shippers can deploy specifically to recover from a freight claim-related loss. While Tice mentions packing shipments better, understanding insurance policies and monitoring claims after they're made, it's her mention of "[taking] photographs where problems occur" – functionality made possible by CargoSnapshot – that was the most noteworthy.
"Move a damaged shipment from a vessel to a warehouse without documentation, and you won't be able to prove where the damage occurred," Tice wrote. "If you only find the damage after accepting delivery and opening crates – known as 'concealed loss,' notify your insurer immediately upon discovery of the problem."